Imran Khan again ignores China's treatment of Uighurs, says accepts 'Chinese version'

By | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
Jul 02, 2021 07:28 AM IST

Imran Khan said last month he is "more concerned about what is happening at the border of his country."

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said his country believes in China's version regarding the treatment of Uighurs, a minority Muslim ethnic group in China's restive Xinjiang province, despite the overwhelming evidence of Beijing's atrocities in the region. Imran Khan also said China's take on the Uighur issue was completely different from what was being reported in the Western media. "Because of our extreme proximity and relationship with China, we actually accept the Chinese version," Khan was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper on Thursday.

An estimated 1 million people or more -- most of them Uighurs -- have been confined in mass detention camps in the Xinjiang region in recent years. (Reuters File Photo)
An estimated 1 million people or more -- most of them Uighurs -- have been confined in mass detention camps in the Xinjiang region in recent years. (Reuters File Photo)

Last month, Imran Khan when asked about his silence on the atrocities on Uighur Muslims in China and outspokenness about Islamophobia in Europe and the US, he said he is "more concerned about what is happening at the border of his country." Khan, in an interview with HBO Axios, also said he has been talking to Beijing "behind the closed doors" and he has been informed, "this is not the case, according to the Chinese people."

Also read | Imran Khan on Uighur Muslims genocide: 'China one of the greatest friends’

An estimated 1 million people or more -- most of them Uighurs -- have been confined in mass detention camps in the Xinjiang region in recent years, researchers have said. China has been accused of imposing forced labour, systematic forced birth control, torture and separating children from incarcerated parents. China has time and time refuted these allegations of interning millions of Uighurs and said these are education camps to wean them away from religious extremism.

File photo of security guards standing at the gates of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Huocheng County in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. (Reuters Photo)
File photo of security guards standing at the gates of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Huocheng County in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. (Reuters Photo)

"It is hypocritical. There are much worse human rights violations taking place in other parts of the world... But Western media hardly comment on this," Imran Khan said, lashing out at Western media for highlighting the Uighurs' situation and Hong Kong.

Also read | Amnesty calls Xinjiang a ‘dystopian hellscape’

The United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and several other countries have accused China of committing genocide against the Uighurs in resource-rich Xinjiang and called for an international probe by human rights groups.

China accuses East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) of being responsible for several violent attacks in the province and outside, including one at the Forbidden City in Beijing in 2013, which have killed several people.

Also read | US, Canada, UK call on China to end 'repression' in Xinjiang

Beijing has sharply criticised the US for delisting Xinjiang’s separatist militant outfit from its list of terrorist organisations last year, saying it reflected Washington’s "double standards" on fighting global terrorism.

Imran Khan said China has always stood by Pakistan whenever his country has faced trouble, politically or internationally. He also Pakistan's relationship with China had nothing to do with India. "Our relationship is a bilateral relationship. It is extremely strong," Khan said underlining Pakistan's strong ties with China.

(With agency inputs)

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